Biomass has an important role in achieving Scotland’s net-zero targets, particularly through negative emissions when deployed as Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). These negative emissions can offset residual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as aviation and construction.

This report updates previous estimates of Scotland’s domestic biomass supply; analysis of the demand for biomass within published decarbonisation pathways; and assesses the scale of BECCS required to achieve negative emissions in the pathway set out in the CCPu.

Key findings

Our estimate of the total current (c. 2020) bioresources produced in Scotland and used for bioenergy annually is 8.9 TWh. Of this, around 8 TWh/year are ‘dry bioresources’ (e.g. wood) suitable for combustion to generate power and/or heat, and 0.9 TWh/year are ‘wetter’ resources (e.g. wastes) more suited for anaerobic digestion to produce biogas, biomethane or more complex biofuels. An additional 3.6 TWh/year is currently available for bioenergy but is not used.

The Scottish TIMES model total annual demand for bioenergy increases from 8.4 TWh in 2020 to 27 TWh in 2030, and 26 TWh in 2045. The simulated bioenergy demand in Scotland in the Climate Change Committee’s 6th Carbon Budget ranges from 7.6 TWh in 2020 to 10.3 – 23.5 TWh in 2045.

Our analysis shows that bioenergy demand in 2030 and 2045 in the Scottish TIMES pathway is higher than our estimates for available domestic bioenergy resources.

Our analysis concludes that in order for Scotland to achieve both the 2030 and 2032 BECCS component of emission removal envelopes via BECCS power, the equivalent of two 500 MWe power plants will be needed.